Super Bowl XLVI

Published on Feb. 3 at 4:32 p.m. Eastern

By Brian Edwards

Four years after the Giants ruined the Patriots’ perfect season and pulled a stunning upset in Super Bowl XLII, these storied organizations are poised to meet again for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Most betting shops opened New England (15-3 straight up, 10-8 against the spread) as a 3 ½-point favorite with a total of 56. The number didn’t stay at 3 ½ for long, as most books had the number adjusted to three by Monday morning (Jan. 23). The total has slowly, yet steadily, been reduced as well.

As of Friday afternoon, most spots had the Patriots favored by three at even-money. This means that gamblers taking the Giants have to pay double juice (minus-120 price). The total was all the way down to 54.

The G-Men are plus-125 on the money line (risk $100 to win $125 on the Giants to win outright).

The most difficult aspect of handicapping the side for this Super Bowl is the uncertain status of New England Pro-Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a high ankle sprain during his team’s 23-20 win over Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game.

There really hasn’t been much doubt about whether or not Gronkowski will play. The question is how effective he’ll be and for how long. He’ll undoubtedly take a pain-killing injection before the game, which creates even more complexities for bettors to consider.

Will the long halftime make Gronkowski less effective in the second half when the medication begins to wear off? Does that possibility make it a wiser move to simply make a first-half bet on the Patriots? Do you avoid the side until intermission and make a second-half wager when you have a better idea of the impact Gronkowski will or will not have on the game?

Like Green Bay last season, New York (12-7 SU, 11-7-1 ATS) has caught fire at the right time. After a Dec. 18 home loss to a mediocre Washington squad, the Giants’ playoff hopes looked bleak and Tom Coughlin’s job security was called into question (yet again). Since then, however, they have won five in a row.

The G-Men’s march through the postseason began with a 24-2 drubbing of Atlanta in the Meadowlands. Next, New York went to Lambeau Field and dismantled the 15-1 Packers by a 37-20 count as a 7 ½-point road underdog.

In the NFC Championship Game, the Giants’ special teams were the difference in a 20-17 overtime win at San Francisco as two-point underdogs. Despite poor weather conditions, Eli Manning completed 32-of-58 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

In the extra session, New York had to punt after its opening drive stalled. On the punt return, San Francisco’s Kyle Williams coughed up the ball and the Giants recovered at the 24. Moments later, Lawrence Tynes was true from 31 yards out for his second career game-winning field goal to send the Giants to the Super Bowl.

When these teams met in Foxboro back on Nov. 6, Manning threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Ballard with 19 second remaining to lift the Giants to a 24-20 win as nine-point underdogs. Manning finished with 250 passing yards and a pair of TDs without being picked off.

Brandon Jacobs rushed 12 times for 72 yards and one TD, getting the bulk of the carries with Amhad Bradshaw sidelined with an injury at the time. Victor Cruz had six receptions for 91 yards and drew a pass-interference penalty to set up the game-winning score.

In the losing effort, Brady threw for 342 yards and two TDs, but he was intercepted twice and also lost a fumble. Wes Welker had nine receptions for 136 yards, while Gronkowski had eight catches for 101 yards and one TD.

New York has been an underdog nine times this year, compiling a 7-2 spread record with six outright victories. Meanwhile, New England owns a 6-7 spread record in 13 games as a single-digit favorite.

The ‘over’ has been a money maker for New England this year, cashing at a 12-6 overall clip. The ‘over’ has hit in seven of its last eight games. When the Patriots have had totals in the 50s, the ‘over’ has gone 6-5.

Totals have been an overall wash for the Giants (9-9), but the ‘under’ is 5-1 in their last six games. When they have had totals in the 50, the ‘over’ has gone 4-1.

Kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–New England has won eight consecutive games and hasn’t tasted defeat since the aforementioned loss to the Giants on Nov. 6. The Pats are 5-3 ATS during this stretch.

–There are hundreds of proposition bets available at every betting shop in Nevada and offshore. I suggest that gamblers only use a small portion of their Super Bowl bankroll on these and make one pick (over, under, Pats or Giants) that will make you a winner for the day even if you strike out on all of your props. In other words, just throw out small change on a handful of props for giggles. On that note, I think you take a shot at a big payout by wagering on who will score the first touchdown. Two recommendations: Victor Cruz and/or Aaron Hernandez at 8/1 odds.

–If you like one side or the other in a big way, there are adjusted lines that will get you paid in a big way. For instance, you can take the G-Men at laying 14 ½ points for an 8/1 return. Remember, they just won by 17 at Green Bay. On the flip side, you can take the Pats at minus 17 ½ for a plus-650 payout (risk $100 to win $650).

–According to Senior Oddsmaker Mike Perry, the Patriots have played 65 times since Tom Brady tore his ACL against Kansas City on Sept. 7 of 2008. They have won the coin flip 28 times in those 65 games. In each of those 28 instances, Bill Belichick has elected to defer their choice of getting the ball to the second half. And that’s why the Giants are minus-180 favorites to receive the opening kick (the Pats are +150).

–Tom Brady is the plus-125 ‘chalk’ to win Super Bowl MVP honors. Eli Manning has the second-shortest odds at plus-175 (risk $100 to win $175).

–Here’s a cross-sport prop I like: Tom Brady’s completions at a minus-115 price vs. Draymond Green’s total points and rebounds. I like Brady in this situation for several reasons. I think he’ll have around 25-30 completions (he had 28 in the regular-season encounter), perhaps even more. Green, a star power forward for Michigan State, averages 14.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. That comes out to 25.1, but we have reasons to believe he won’t hit his averages in this weekend’s game against arch-rival Michigan. For starters, Green sustained a sprained knee earlier this week in a loss at Illinois. Although he’s expected to play, his minutes might be reduced and it’s fair to suspect that he won’t be at 100 percent. In addition, Green will be facing one of the nation’s premier post defenders in Jordan Morgan, who played a huge role in limiting Green to just seven points (and 11 boards) when these teams played in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago.

– has already posted NFL futures for next year. Green Bay is the 5/1 ‘chalk’ and the Saints have the second-shortest odds at 6/1. The Pats and Giants are at 7/1 and 20/1, respectively.

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